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Take Your Medicine
By Arianna Hart
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.Copyright © 2007 Arianna Hart
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAfter waving to the security guard, she rounded the corner and clicked the lock for the door, lighting the interior of the car. Automatically, she looked in the backseat for intruders. She did so out of habit, but almost jumped out of her skin when she actually saw a body in the backseat. She was digging through her purse to dial 911 when the back door opened and a man stumbled out.
"Stay back! I've already dialed 911 and if I scream, hospital security will be over here in a heartbeat!" Macayla backed up and prepared to defend herself. Mentally she kicked herself for telling the security guard to stay at his station. She was only going across the street, she was a black belt in karate, what did she have to fear? What an idiot.
"Macayla! Calm down."
"How do you know who I am? Did you read the registration? Why are you still here, run away before the cops get here!" Macayla was still digging in her bag for the phone. What was the point of making them so small if they got lost in your purse?
"Macayla, it's me, Jared. Jared Romero, Connor's friend. Remember?"
Macayla took a better look at the tall stranger leaning against her car. "Move into the light," Macayla ordered him. Her hands shook, and her heart pounded. If it was indeed Jared, she had a lot more to worry about than if it was a stranger.
The first time she met him he had broken into her apartment and she held a gun on him, while wearing nothing but a towel. She had threatened to shoot him between the legs before she found out he was just bringing a phone so she could have contact with Samara while she and Connor were on the run.
Samara was Macayla's best friend in the world, and Connor was her husband, who just happened to be Jared's best friend. Jared hadn't taken kindly to having a gun pointed at him and paid her back by kissing the life out of her. She had seen him on two other occasions, and in both experiences she had ended up the loser.
As he moved into the pool of light cast by the street lamp, Macayla noticed the broad shoulders, the height, the sheer power of him. She didn't even need to look at his face to confirm his identity, but she looked up at him anyway. He was close to a foot taller than her five foot three inches, but she refused to be cowed by his size. She boldly stared at his chiseled features.
Oh yeah, she remembered the dark black hair, brutally cut in the military fashion. It did nothing to detract from his looks. His eyes were hazel, with more green than blue, and bloodshot now. His nose had been broken at least once, but it only added character to his stunning face. He had high, sharp cheekbones and a strong, stubborn chin. If it weren't for the nose, he could pose in any magazine across the country.
"Satisfied?" Jared asked with a snap in his voice. He lurched over to the truck and practically fell over.
"What's wrong with you? Are you drunk?" Macayla ran over to make sure he didn't land on his face. He was pale as chalk and she could feel the heat coming off his skin. When she wrapped her arm around his waist, he hissed in pain.
"What's going on? Are you hurt?"
"Gunshot, in my side, not serious, but I'm losing blood. That's why I came here, to you."
"Well, I didn't think you were having a baby, but I didn't expect a gunshot. What am I supposed to do?"
"Get it out, stitch me up, and let me go on my way, without any awkward questions."
"Why should I do that?"
"I just knew you'd ask questions. Do you think I could lie down while you grill me? I'm not feeling too good," Jared said as dehydration and blood loss got the best of him and he passed out in the car.
"I just knew you'd find a way to avoid answering my questions," Macayla mumbled as she pushed his heavy legs in the back of the truck. "Don't you dare bleed all over my seats. This is the first new vehicle I've had in almost ten years, you better not ruin my interior."
Running into the office, she grabbed as many things as she could think of. She had a decent medical kit at home, but she didn't have everything she'd need for minor surgery. As it was, she only had access to a local anesthetic and taking care of that bullet was still going to hurt like hell.
Macayla drove the short trip to her condo with her mind in overdrive. Where had he gotten shot? Why did he come to her? How was she going to lug his big body into her condo without anyone seeing her? It was after midnight, she should be able to pull around to the front door and get him out, then park the truck in her garage.
Her garage led into the basement of the condo, but Macayla didn't want to drag him up a flight of stairs if she could avoid it. She didn't know if she even could. He was really big, and dead weight was always hard to lift. She tried to put the word "dead" out of her mind.
"Come on, Romero, wake up. I don't know how I'm going to get you into the house by myself." Macayla gently slapped his face, and when he didn't wake up she slapped him a little harder.
"All right. I'm coming." Jared had the glassy-eyed look of someone with a fever, and he could barely stand, even with her help. Macayla had already unlocked the front door and had it propped so she wouldn't have to fight with her keys and Jared at the same time. She managed to help him through the door before he passed out again.
"Damn it, Romero, couldn't you have at least made it to the living room? Now I'm going to have to drag you across the floor and you'll probably get blood stains on my carpet." Macayla tried to bite back her anxiety. She had no idea how long ago he'd been shot, and she had no way of giving him more blood. She could give him IV fluids, but that was it. If he lost too much blood, she would either have to take him to a hospital, or watch him die.
Excerpted from Take Your Medicine by Arianna Hart Copyright © 2007 by Arianna Hart. Excerpted by permission.
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